Russian spy activity ‘higher than in Cold War’ – FT — RT World News

A source told the newspaper that the expulsion of hundreds of suspected agents from the country's embassies made counterespionage more difficult.

Russia has intensified its intelligence work in the West and is upgrading its espionage skills, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing interviews with analysts and intelligence officials.

Last week's leak of a recording in which German air force officers discussed possible ways to help Ukraine use Taurus missiles to target Russia's Crimean Bridge, while maintaining the possibility of deniability, is worrying. 'Moscow's most explosive propaganda coup so far this year' The outlet said. But that was only one example of Russia's renewed competence in the world of espionage, according to its sources.

“Russian activities… are as high or even higher than during the Cold War.” Someone said. Another described Russian intelligence as… “huge machine” Adding that it was “Back to doing what you've always done.” Most of the interviews were conducted before the German leak.

In 2022, Western countries attempted to undermine Moscow's intelligence networks by expelling hundreds of diplomats on suspicion that they may be secretly working for the intelligence services. One agent said that in hindsight, the move may have made counterintelligence more difficult.

“You invite them home, have drinks, introduce family, make them realize you're a human being, and develop trust. It was key.” The source said, explaining how the presence of the Russians had its benefits.

The article claimed that Moscow had intensified the use of “illegitimate” agents – that is, agents without diplomatic cover – as well as “proxy” agents, such as foreign nationals affiliated with politics, business and organized crime. There are also concerns in the West that critics of the Russian government who have fled to other countries amid the Ukrainian conflict may come under pressure from Moscow to cooperate with them.

Some of the complaints concerned neutral European countries, such as Austria and Switzerland, as well as Russia-friendly Serbia, which allegedly served as operating bases for Russian officers. One source claimed that nearly a third of Russian operations on the continent are run from… “Safe centers” Vienna and Geneva. Türkiye and the United Arab Emirates are also used as launching points for Moscow's agents, the newspaper was told.

“The Russians are very stupid,” an intelligence source said. “but,” The official admitted “They can also do some very complex operations, which are very impressive from an intelligence standpoint.”

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